Posts Tagged ‘Flying M.E.’

Bill McGee and Flying M.E. guest taking a beer break on a trail ride, 1948 (Author Collection)

 

Don your Western wear and watch a classic Western movie

Owen Wister is said to have created the first romantic cowboy in 1902 with his best-selling novel The Virginian. The hero, known as “the Virginian”, was brave and honorable, tough but soft-spoken. The Virginian was portrayed on the big screen in 1929 by Gary Cooper, in 1946 by Joel McCrea, and from 1962 to 1971 by James Drury in a television series of the same name.

Back when: Bill McGee cowboyin’ on the Flying M.E. guest ranch, Franktown, Nevada, 1947-1949

Ed Pearce of KOLO-TV, Reno, interviews former 1940s Nevada dude wrangler Bill McGee on the site of the famous Flying M.E. divorce ranch, Washoe Valley, Nevada. November 2004.

 

Take a listen to this interview on Nevada Public Radio’s KNPR in Las Vegas, March 1, 2011

Tales from Reno’s Divorce Ranches 

The interview includes commentary by the following Reno divorce era experts:

  • Author Bill McGee – former 1940s dude wrangler on Nevada’s Flying M.E. divorce ranch
  • Author Marilu Norden -divorce seeker at the Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch in the 1950s
  • Beth Ward – former owner of the Whitney Guest Ranch in Reno
  • Mella Harmon – Reno divorce historian

TRUE WEST Magazine, opening page of Sandra McGee's Reno divorce story, June 2010

 

Thank you to editor Meghan Saar for including my story in True West Magazine, June 2010 issue

Click on the link below to ready the story…

“The Divorce Seekers – An old-time wrangler recalls Reno, the ‘city of broken vows’, through his days at the Flying M.E. ranch” by Sandra McGee

More from Byline Sandra McGee

Mount Rose, Nevada, November 2009 – On a chilly morning in November 2009, Bill and I gathered with four close friends to dedicate the Bill and Sandra McGee Mile on the Tahoe Rim Trail. The mile we chose to sponsor is the Connector Trail from the Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead to Relay Peak Road.

Per Bill’s wishes, our sponsored mile was dedicated to Emmy Wood, the legendary proprietor of the famous Flying M.E. divorce ranch, where Bill worked as the head dude ranch wrangler from 1947 to 1949.

Bill has a long history with Lake Tahoe going back to the 1930s, when he first visited the Lake as a teenager while thumbing his way around the West. Following his discharge from the Navy after World War II, he worked at the Lake as a trail and deer hunting guide for the Bob Scates stables in Tahoe City.

From 1947 to 1949, when Bill was the head dude wrangler on the Flying M.E., south of Reno, he led ranch guests on pack trips and overnight camping trips to the Lake.

Bill left cowboying in 1950, but he returned to Lake Tahoe as often as he could… as a hiker, a skier, and a writer. In the 1980s, when Bill was living in Incline Village, Nevada, he was one of the first volunteers to help build the Tahoe Rim Trail.

On May 15, 2010, Bill and I were presented with a Commemorative Plaque for our sponsorship of the Bill and Sandra McGee Mile on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

(L to R) TRT’s Janice Barbour, Director of Development; Mark Kimbrough, former Executive Director; and (far right) Mary Bennington, Executive Director

For more on the Tahoe Rim Trail Association’s Adopt-a-Mile program, visit Tahoe Rim Trail.

 

Writer/wrangler Bill McGee talks about his book, The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler and his time from 1947 to 1949 working on the Flying M.E., the famous dude and divorce ranch twenty-one miles south of Reno that catered to wealthy Easterners, socialites, and Hollywood celebrities.

Interview at Western Writers of America Mega-Book Signing
June 19, 2009
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma City, OK

Sandra McGee, co-author of The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler, shares her thoughts on the Reno divorce era.

Interview at Western Writers of America Mega-Book Signing
June 19, 2009
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma City, OK